Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that affects more than 16 million Americans. The cause of rosacea is still unknown, and there is no cure. However, research has allowed doctors to find ways to treat the condition by minimizing its symptoms.
There are four subtypes of rosacea. Each subtype has its own set of symptoms. It is possible to have more than one subtype of rosacea at a time.

Rosacea’s trademark symptom is small, red, pus-filled bumps on the skin that are present during flare-ups. Typically, rosacea affects only skin on your nose, cheeks, and forehead.

Flare-ups often occur in cycles. This means that you will experience symptoms for weeks or months at a time, the symptoms will go away, and then return.


  • Subtype one, known as erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), is associated with facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels.
  • Subtype two, papulopustular (or acne) rosacea, is associated with acne-like breakouts, and often affects middle-aged women.
  • Subtype three, known as rhinophyma, is a rare form associated with thickening of the skin on your nose. It usually affects men and is often accompanied by another subtype of rosacea.
  • Subtype four is known as ocular rosacea, and its symptoms are centered on the eye area.


Experts are not sure what causes rosacea. However, many believe that the following factors may contribute:​

  • Abnormalities in the blood vessels: Skin specialists suggest that facial flushing and spider veins are due to abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face. However, they are unsure as to what causes inflammation in the blood vessels.
  • A skin mite called Demodex folliculorum: This mite lives on the skin and usually causes no problems. However, people with rosacea tend to have more of these mites than others. It is unclear whether the mites cause the rosacea or the rosacea causes the increase in mites.
  • Bacteria called Helicobacter pylori: These gut bacteria stimulate the production of bradykinin, a small polypeptide that causes blood vessels to dilate. Experts suggest that this bacterium may play a role in the development of rosacea.
  • Family history: Many people Trusted Source with rosacea have a close relative with the condition. This means that there may be an inherited or genetic component.